23 Jan 2019

Thousands of Queenstown homes and businesses without power overnight

11:49 pm on 23 January 2019

About 1000 homes and businesses in the Queenstown area are without power tonight, Aurora Energy says.

Tree down near Queenstown

A downed tree in the Queenstown area after a short, sharp period of intense weather hit late this afternoon. Photo: Aurora Energy

The power outages come after a short, sharp period of intense weather hit the area late this afternoon.

MetService said winds peaked at about 100km/h, 12 millimetres of rain fell, and the temperature dropped sharply as the area was hit by a burst of hail and flashes of lightning.

Aurora Energy says there are multiple reports of downed trees and power lines.

At its peak, 4500 customers were without power.

Tree down Queenstown

There have been multiple reports of downed trees, according to Aurora Energy. Photo: Queenstown Lakes District Council / Facebook

Around 1000 customers are still cut off and the company says they should prepare for a night with no electricity.

Power remains off in Glenorchy, parts of Frankton, Makarora and Paradise.

"Severe wind gusts and heavy rain have caused widespread damage and power cuts in multiple areas across the electricity network in Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago.

"There are reports of multiple downed trees and power lines.

"Customers with power off should prepare for the power remaining off overnight. Power could be restored at any time, so treat all electrical equipment and appliances as live."

Earlier, crews were out clearing debris in Queenstown, keeping firefighters busy.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council said sections of Glenorchy Road and Speargrass Flat Road would stay shut overnight.

The council is asking people to avoid non-essential travel.

MetService said the rain and wind was getting weaker as it moved north.

Forecaster Sarah Garlick said it all turned sour very quickly.

"It came through with quite a bit of a bang as well - and getting strong winds from the southerly direction isn't super usual for them, so it's not surprising that they've seen some damage."

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